Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - From Manchester United to Hong Kong, Forlan’s still going strong




From Manchester United to Hong Kong, Forlan’s still going strong

Former Manchester United and Uruguay forward Diego Forlan poses before a team training session with Hong Kong Premier League football club Kitchee in Hong Kong on Thursday. AFP
Former Manchester United and Uruguay forward Diego Forlan poses before a team training session with Hong Kong Premier League football club Kitchee in Hong Kong on Thursday. AFP

From Manchester United to Hong Kong, Forlan’s still going strong

Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan said he hasn’t lost his passion for football and has no plans to retire as he embraces his latest challenge: firing Hong Kong’s Kitchee in the Asian Champions League.

Uruguay’s Forlan, now 38, has shone on the sport’s biggest stages with Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, and also when he won the Golden Ball at the 2010 World Cup.

After ending a one-year stay with Inter Milan in 2012, Forlan has played for five clubs, including Mumbai City in the Indian Super League last year.

But Forlan, who has now played for clubs in eight different countries, said he is enjoying a new lease of life with Kitchee, where he is regularly finding the net.

“It’s great. Great relationship, good guys from different countries, so I’m really enjoying my time here,” Forlan said.

“I really enjoy [it] – it’s beautiful. It’s been my work for almost 20 years and it’s been great. I don’t feel [it is] like working. It’s something that I enjoy playing, something that I’m privileged [to do], so that’s why I’ll keep going and keep playing.”

Forlan isn’t the only footballer to enjoy a late-career flourish in Asia, whose increasingly wealthy leagues have attracted a steady stream of veteran players.

This week he will return to Japan, where he had an 18-month spell with Cerezo Osaka in 2014-15, as Kitchee face Kashiwa Reysol looking for their first win in the AFC Champions league.

Trophy treble to aim for

After losing 3-0 at Tianjin Quanjian in China and 6-0 at home to South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors in Group E, Forlan said the debutants “need to improve a lot”.

“We know it’s a difficult competition, so we hope we can do much better than the way we’ve done it in the first two games,” he said.

“For the next game, it’s going to be difficult,” added Forlan, ahead of Tuesday’s match in Kashiwa, about 50 kilometres from Tokyo. “Every game is difficult for us. We know they have really good teams.

“Going back to Japan is going to be nice. I really enjoyed my time there with family.”

Forlan twice topped the La Liga scoring charts in Spain, with Villareal way back in 2004-05 and Atletico Madrid in 2008-09.

He acknowledged that becoming the first Hong Kong club to reach the knockout stages of Asia’s premier club competition is going to take a remarkable turnaround.

But Forlan has his sights set on a domestic treble with the reigning Hong Kong champions, who are 11 points clear of Pegasus in the current domestic standings.

“We hope we can win the league. We have a big lead over the second and third team,” he said.

“And then to see [if we can win] the FA Cup and also the Sapling [League] Cup – that will be awesome for us.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there

  • Cambodia lauded for fight against Covid-19

    Cambodia has drawn global accolades for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a new report finding that the Kingdom has controlled the pandemic better than any other country in Asia. Dr Takeshi Kasai, director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Western Pacific region,